oppn parties Political Funding Reforms: This Government is Not Serious

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  • Row erupts over CBSE's decision to reduce the syllabus by 30% this academic year due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. Experts say several lessons that the ruling dispensation does not like are being removed
  • Gangster Vikas Dubey's nephew killed in an encounter by UP police who also pick up his key aide Raju Khullar and his son Adarsh
  • MHA sets up an inter-ministerial committee to probe the alleged financial misdeeds of three trusts linked to the Gandhi family
  • Actor Jagdeep, most famous for his Soorma Bhopali act in Sholay, passes away
  • Pakistan says Kulbhushan Jadhav has declined to file a review petition and will stick to his mercy plea. India calls it a farce
  • India to keep a strict vigil to confirm that the Chinese are abiding by the deal on the pullback at the LAC
  • US secretary of state Mike Pompeo says China was "incredibly aggressive" at the LAC and India did its best to respond calmly
  • India reaches 700000 corona cases and 20000 deaths due to the disease
  • West Bengal plans to create a plasma bank for Covid patients
  • Chargesheet filed against arrested J&K police officer Devinder Singh and others. Singh accused of being a Pakistani informer
  • Very few people visit ASI monuments that were opened on Monday
  • Sensex gains 1500 points in four trading sessions in July
  • The Centre says final year university exams should be held in September and degrees should only be given on the basis of exams
  • Trade surplus for India in June for the first time in 18 years
  • Highway ministry increases the border roads upkeep fund by four times
Gangster Vikas Dubey arrested by MP police from Ujjain and handed over to UP police
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Political Funding Reforms: This Government is Not Serious

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2017-03-23 11:41:26

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Buoyed by the lack of corruption in the upper echelons of this NDA government, one was expecting that it will bring about transparency in political funding and election spending, the two most opaque things that lead to corruption and worse. When Arun Jaitley had reduced the amount of cash political parties could receive as donation from a single source in his 2017 budget proposals, one was further enthused that more important reforms would be undertaken in due course.

But belying all hopes, Jaitley has introduced an amendment in his budget proposals that will make donations even more opaque. Hitherto, companies could donate up to 7.5% of their average net profits in the three immediately preceding years to one or more political parties. By proposing an amendment to the Companies Act, 2013, the finance minister seeks to withdraw the cap and the restriction.

Further, what troubles more is that companies will no longer be obliged to disclose the name of the political party to which they have made the donation. This will lead to big corruption as ruling parties can ask for donation to party funds (not needed to be disclosed and hence untraceable) in return for bestowing favours like licenses to companies.

Also, since funding through Election Bonds can be done without disclosing the names, companies should be barred from purchasing more than a certain amount of Bonds every year. In their case, it should be mandatory to disclose the name of the party to whom they paid through such Bonds. Ideally, it will be better if the Election Bond route is kept open only for individuals or non-corporate entities.

The intention of reforming political funding is to smash the cosy nexus between political parties and big business. This amendment is going to achieve the opposite. Hence, it should be withdrawn immediately. Some experts have pointed out that the section in the Companies Act could have been deleted ‘inadvertently.’ If it is indeed so, it should be restored without delay. It is fine if the government wishes to remove the cap, but disclosure norms should stay.